Psalm 119 ‘O How Love I Thy Law! It Is My Meditation All The Day’
Psalm 119 ‘O How Love I Thy Law! It Is My Meditation All The Day’
In our Scripture reading schedule for this week, we find the texts from Psalm 119 to include verses 41-104. While it is frequently noted that apart from only two particular verses in this, the 11 9th Psalm, the word of God is referred to in every other single verse, so that it is to be expected, and no surprise, that we will discover the psalmist making such reference in the first verses of each and every one of the eight octaves found in this week's schedule.
In the first representative verse, the psalmist's prayer is, 'Let thy lovingkindnesses also come unto me, O Jehovah, even thy salvation, according to thy word.' David (if David indeed be the author as many suppose) utters here the indispensable relation between the Word of God and that salvation that is "according to (that) word. He also relates that salvation to the lovingkindnesses of the Lord; that mercy and grace that is at the bottom of this so great salvation. But it is all, every feature of it, according to the Word of Jehovah. We might say, 'He spoke and it was done.' Exactly as the initial creation was accomplished by the Word of God, so is the new creation so accomplished in every individual that was sovereignly placed in Christ from before the foundation of the world. In Genesis 1:3, we learn that God spoke the creation into being when we read, 'And God said, let there be light, and there was light.' This is the model for every day of creation, 'And God said. All things were created at His word, and by His Word, for John informs us that, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. It is not difficult to imagine the prophet seeing the coming of the Word in flesh when he prays, 'Let thy salvation come unto me. It is the very same understanding that inspired the apostle to declare, “Seeing it is God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.' Indeed, It was the Word of God Himself who spoke to the Pharisee, Saul, on the road to Damascus, yea, being that "light out of heaven' that 'shone round about him;' that Light that shined out of darkness, with the voice saying unto him, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?' The Word spoke; new life came into being, and the Pharisee Saul became the apostle Paul.
In the 49th verse, the first verse of the next octave, the psalmist is once again at prayer. He pleads, "Remember the word unto thy servant, because thou hast made me to hope. He has been made to hope in what? Why, to hope in the
word! He has been made to hope; he has been given faith to trust in the faithfulness of the word of God. He continues to hope in Him who has caused him to hope in His word. Even as Paul, so the psalmist 'through patience and through comfort of the scriptures' had hope.
And because he had been taught by the word and Spirit that Jehovah was his portion, his desire expressed in the leading verse of the eighth octave was to observe His words. This is the natural (supernatural really) outworking of the grace of God in the heart of the one upon whose heart the law of God has been transcribed; that is, the word of God has been written upon his heart. It is in his bowels now, and it burns within him as did the hearts of those walking on the road to Emmaus because they were walking with the Word Himself. And as these two were instructed by the Word in order to observe it, now the psalmist is desirous of observing the word of the God of his salvation. It follows that he would offer thanksgiving for these mercies in the subsequent octave, thus he says to Jehovah, 'Thou hast dealt well with thy servant....according unto thy word.' Do we praise God with thanksgiving for the gift of His Word?
In the remaining four octaves we are reintroduced to two frequently employed synonyms for 'word' as found in Psalm 119, namely 'commandment, in verse 73, and its correspondent law, in verse 97. In two of these remaining four octaves the writer/pray-er declares his continuing 'hope in thy word, in verse 81 where he also speaks of that longing that he has for the salvation God has declared in and through His word, when he says, “My soul fainteth for thy salvation, and in the 89th verse which begins with praise unto Jehovah that His word 's settled in heaven.' It is a sure word of prophecy, never to be doubted. Well may we imagine him saying, This is all my hope and my salvation. Here he attributes this settledness of the word of God to His great faithfulness; because of the great faithfulness of the Author of the word, it is 'forever settled in heaven? and shall never fail. When the word is considered, it needn't be considered apart from the covenants and promises of God, for they are as one in the mind of God. They are each of them the utterances of Him who cannot lie, nor ever fail in His bringing to pass what He has ordained and purposed.
The psalmist also speaks, as noted above, of the word of God as His law and His commandments. These are terms that commonly repel the natural man. He does not like the thought of being commanded, and he much prefers the idea of being a law unto himself. Natural man considers himself to be autonomous. It was Charles Spurgeon who wisely stated that we are all of us born Arminians. He meant, by that, to say that every man born of woman, until better taught, has the notion that he is the determiner of his fate; that his own free will determines his destiny, and thus denies any objective authority such as would be contained in the commands, or laws, of Another. But the child of God, as exemplified by the psalmist, recognizes that, having been born from above, he has been given a new heart that delights in God's laws and commandments. He wishes therefore to learn all he may with regard to just what God would have him to do; he asks, "Give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments,' asking implicitly that he would also be given the will to do them. For as he declares in the last of the octaves under consideration this week, 'O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.' He loves God's word; he needs it; he delights in its truth for his soul and his salvation. It should therefore be no surprise that it is often on his mind; he meditates on it day and night, for he is like a tree planted by a river that will surely bring forth fruit in its season and its leaf shall not wither. Amen
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
More in David's Commentaries
February 23, 2020Psalm 46: ‘God is our Refuge and Strength.’
February 16, 2020Psalm 40:7 ‘In the roll of the book it is written of me.’
February 9, 2020Leviticus 1 ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’